Birmingham, San Diego and Trenton, NJ, have joined the massive national campaign by African-American business leaders to raise funds for free student admission to the Academy Award®-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film “SELMA,” expanding the unprecedented movement to a total of 32 locations nationwide.

Following the lead of a team of African-American business leaders in New York and across the U.S., funds have been established in these cities that will allow students to see “SELMA” for free at participating theaters while supplies last.

The Selma for Students program has grown steadily since its launch in New York City on January 8th. To date, African-American business leaders in 32 locations across the U.S. have raised funds for free admission for middle and high school students to see “SELMA.” More than 300,000 students nationwide will experience the critically acclaimed film for free.

Due to the program’s popularity and the ongoing efforts of the organizers, student tickets in Boston, Detroit, New York and Northern New Jersey are sold out. Philadelphia expanded its program and added 3,000 more tickets to meet the overwhelming demand, while the business leaders in Northern New Jersey raised additional funds to send 1,000 students in Trenton to see the film.

The local business leaders who are leading the efforts in the new cities are: 

Roy S. Johnson, Director of Sports, Alabama Media Group; Staci Brown Brooks, Manager of Special Projects, Alabama Media Group; and Terri Gardner in Birmingham
“Having only moved to Birmingham in recent months, it was a particular honor to work with and meet long-time Alabamians who were eager to support Selma for Students in recognition of this state's historic role in the civil rights movement. For us, this effort was truly close to home,” said Johnson.

Lee Wills-Irvine, Senior Manager, Human Resources, Qualcomm, in San Diego
“Qualcomm recognizes the historical importance and current relevance of the movie ‘Selma.’ So we are excited to partner with companies like Sony Electronics, community based organizations like the San Diego African-America Museum of Fine Arts, and local Executive Leadership Council Members to provide this opportunity to students in San Diego,” said Wills-Irvine. “Thank you to the Qualcomm leadership team, local businesses and community leaders who have so generously supported such a meaningful movement.”

David R. Jones, President and CEO, CastleOak Securities, L.P., in Trenton, NJ
These business leaders are following the lead of those in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Central Florida/Orlando, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Charlotte, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Northern New Jersey, Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, San Francisco, Sarasota, FL, St. Louis, Stockton, CA, Washington D.C. and Westchester.

Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, which is distributing “SELMA,” is coordinating the programs with participating theaters in the U.S. For a list of participating theaters in select cities offering free admission to students during this program and for information on group sales, visit

Middle and high school students who present a current student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater will receive free admission while tickets last. Tickets will be available in Trenton beginning Monday, January 26th.

The nationwide efforts are inspired by the success of the program in New York City, in which 27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free. Due to the overwhelming demand, the New York City effort sold out in the very first weekend and was expanded to 75,000 tickets.

To help get the word out about the program, tweet using the hashtag #SelmaForStudents.

Directed by DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “SELMA” is nominated for Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common & John Legend. The film earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Song for “Glory” and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films present “SELMA.” Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey, the film is executive produced by Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Diarmuid McKeown, Nik Bower, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales. The film is written by Paul Webb. “SELMA” is directed by Ava DuVernay.

“SELMA” is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s “SELMA” tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. The film also stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”

“SELMA” is playing in theaters nationwide. To learn more about the film, go to

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.